*Hopefully I’ve corrected most of my typos since yesterday.  Ha! I had to hurriedly post this as I had an appointment to rush to. I should have waited to post it after I could read through it a few times.  I’m sure there’s still typos and grammatical errors but that’s my trademark!

A few weeks ago I discovered a board game called All About Decatur.  I found it at the Drive-In Antiques & More on Oakland.  I stop in there once in a while to see what Decatur items they have.  This one stuck out to me because it is a time capsule of Decatur for 1982.  I would have been 11 years old.

It looks like the game was sponsored heavily by the Decatur Tribune, so I’m sure Paul Osborne, the editor of the Tribune would know much more about it.  By the way, congratulations to Paul Osborne for being inducted into Decatur’s Hall of Fame.  I can’t think of anybody who knows Decatur better or who has been a better ambassador for the city.

Anyway, let’s go back to good ole 1982!

Many of these photos you’ll have to click on to see better.

Here is the game as I found it at the antique store.  It was surrounded by Decatur Park Singers’ albums.


Except, they weren’t yet called the Decatur Park Singers.  They had a much catchier name:  The Decatur Park District Recreation Dept. Summer Staff Singers.  I think we know why the name later changed.

Decatur Park District Rec Singers

The copyright date is 1982 and it is a limited edition.  I’m not sure how many Decaturites have this game in their possession but in 2014, it is worth $14.95. At least that’s what I paid for it.


The next photos will read more like an obituary collection because many of the businesses featured on the game are no longer in business for various reasons.  Things are bound to change over a 30 year period. 30 years from now, Decatur will look different than it does now.

Our first death is Federal Kemper Insurance Company.  The building is now occupied by the Decatur Lutheran Association, where my kids go to school.  I knew it had been an insurance company but I couldn’t remember the name.  Other’s no longer with us include Shenanigans, Wrigley Drug Store (I think it’s gone), and Koester Buick.  Koester Buick has changed  ownership and names over the years but we still have a Buick dealership.


Our next dearly departed former businesses of Decatur are Tom’s Grill, Black & Company’s retail stores, and a former logo of Decatur Memorial Hospital.  The hospital is still around but the logo thankfully changed.  Wait till you see some other old logos!


R.I.P. Kelly’s Potato Chip factory.


Staley’s, when it was still officially called Staley’s, though everyone still calls them Staley’s because Tate & Lyle sounds so ridiculous, plus it brings back too many bad memories of the 1990s.


Bonanza was the most upscale restaurant my parents ever went to.  They did have good steaks though!


The Imperial Inn Motel, Montgomery Ward, Ambassador Motor Inn (not shown in picture) are no longer with us either. The Ambassador Motor Inn is now the Macon County office building. Yes, there used to be a hotel downtown.  I’d almost forgotten too.

decgame8 decgame9

WTMX was brand new in ’82 but I don’t remember it one bit.


Star Trek called and wanted their logo back from the Decatur Civic Center.


Hickory Point Mall when it was full of plants and light poles.  Boy that brings back memories.  I walked into those poles more than once.  I’d have more memories to share if the mall if it weren’t for those concussions.


The Central Park fountain in 1982.  I don’t think I ever saw it in person.  Now I can’t see the Transfer House unless I stand on top of the new fountain.


I think this must be the city logo that only lasted for a short while because it reminded people of Japan during World War II.  Today, nobody would associate a rising sun with Japan.  It was soon changed back to the Transfer House and it has remained the city logo since.


Read more

My dad gave me my mom’s recipe books the other day.  I wasn’t aware she had any cooking books, to be honest but I came across one that said a lot about my mom’s feelings towards cooking.  It is titled Kenmore Microwave Cooking, and it was published in 1981. It came with our first microwave.  I’m assuming it didn’t win a literary award that year but it represents the arrival of a new age.  I remember vividly when we got our microwave oven, still new technology then, and I remember flipping through the pages of this book and being mesmerized by it.  It was a momentous event in our household.  It was the answer to so many people’s prayers, especially my mom’s – to never really have to cook again!


I remember it like they day we first got cable television and being very disappointed to find out that cable television channels also had commercials.  That made no sense to me.  Why would there be commercials on a channel we had to pay for?  Our microwave oven also didn’t live up to our expectations, especially my mom’s.

My dad did most of the cooking in our house, mostly because of my parent’s different working schedules but also because my mom didn’t enjoy cooking all that much.  She also lived in a time when “women’s work” was supposed to be becoming easier due to technology.

Automatic dishwashers were supposed to be the end of hand-washing dishes in the sink. Instead they’re noisy, use too much water and electricity, and only occasionally get a dish clean, I think sometimes purely by accident.  Vacuum cleaners were supposed to mean easily keeping carpets  clean but they too are loud, cumbersome, and overhyped.  Microwaves were supposed to mean delicious meals were only 8 minutes or less away but…

The first thing my mom tried to cook in our microwave was a cake.  Yes, a cake.  The instructions said 8-12 minutes but after the first round, the result didn’t look much like a cake.  So my mom put it back in for another 8-12 minutes with the same result.  After “cooking” the cake for about an hour, and seeing the same results each time, she finally realized that the cake wasn’t happening.

I’m amazed the cake hadn’t caught on fire or shrunk to the size of a pea after being cooked for so long.  It just stayed the same and tasted like a rubber sponge.  So went my mom’s hopes of never having to bake a cake again the old fashioned way, in an oven.  Her dream of Thanksgiving Dinner in 20 minutes or less was over.  I’m so glad she didn’t try cooking a turkey in it!




Read more